Well, we’ve been on quite a journey over the last 12 weeks, I hope that you’ve been able to keep up! If you’ve missed any articles or want a recap, please check out any of the articles on the Age Life Balance website .
Age Life Balance Survey insights
You may recall that when I started my blog in early March, I also launched a survey. My target was to collect 100 responses, which I managed to achieve in a couple of weeks – great result! The aim of the survey was to find out what’s important to people today as well as thoughts and attitudes about the future and more specifically ageing.
In this article, I plan to share some of the key insights that I’ve gleaned from the survey results. I’ll probably only scratch the surface today, so I’ll keep the rest handy for another time. Like any survey, responses are based on the cross section of respondents that agreed to complete the survey, how they interpreted the questions and how they were feeling at that particular time. The good news is that the responses show some common themes and should at the very least be indicative.
Age of respondents
This is probably more to do with the age of the people I know and that I targeted more than anything else. What it does show that people are interested in the topic of ageing as early as 30, hence the lower target age range for my blog. Those in later years are also interested in ageing (often as they don’t consider themselves to be old) – more on this to come in next week’s Words of Wisdom article.
The great news is that >50% of respondents believe they’ll reach 80, with 94% believing they’ll live until their seventies, at least. An impressive 20% believe they’ll reach 90 years, with 3% thinking they might live to 100 years old. 6% didn’t answer the question, maybe finding it too difficult, uncomfortable or not wanting to tempt fate.
The ‘gut feel’ from the respondents isn’t too far off the statistics. There are a couple of different ways of looking at this.
- Between 2013-15, the most common age at death in the UK for men was 85 and for women was 89
- A newborn baby boy could expect to live 79.1 years and a newborn baby girl 82.8 years if mortality rates remain the same as they were in the UK in 2013–2015 throughout their lives
What I actually find more surprising (even shocking) is the 1% who respectively only expect to live until 60-69 or not even reach their sixtieth birthday. I sincerely hope these people are down the lower age of the current age scale.
It would be interesting to understand more from the respondents (in particular the outliers) as to why they selected a particular age, whether it’s based on family longevity or the way they are living their lives today. Whilst the survey was totally confidential, I have looked at the answers to other questions of those at the higher end of the spectrum and there isn’t anything of particular note, maybe it’s just wishful thinking!
What’s important today?
Before delving into anything else, I thought it’d be interesting to establish a baseline of what’s important to respondents today. I asked people to select their top 8 priorities and to rank them accordingly.
Overall, despite a cross-section of different ages and backgrounds, family, health and financial security are considered the top priorities in our lives today, with family at an astounding 63% of what is ‘most important’.
Even more interesting, there are 6 common responses against the top 8 as well as the most important over all: family, health and financial security, enjoying life, freedom and ability to make life choices. Others popular responses included freedom, friends and fitness. If these are important to us today, wouldn’t it be great if they could form part of our lives as we age as well? Many of these themes feature in the ALB blogs, so I think I must be on the right track.
Not to miss anyone out, others responses on this question from the free text included ‘having a job that I love’, ‘God’, ‘my horse’ and ‘the ability to walk in the countryside’.
Thoughts about the future
The next question is whether they ever think about growing older and the long-term future.
An astounding 99% of respondents think about the future at least some of the time (only 1% said they never did). However, the frequency / intensity of thoughts did vary: 62% thinking about it seldom or sometimes, 34% often and 3% all of the time.
My interest was piqued by the 3% thinking about it all the time. Surprisingly these were not people at the upper end of the age limit but were scattered amount some of the younger age ranges. Their other survey answers give no real insight, so I wonder if their particular interest could be influenced by witnessing relatives and other loved one’s age.
In summary though, it appears that it’s never too early to start thinking about ageing and making preparations for the future across a number of different themes.
Feelings about ageing
The final question I’ll look at in today’s article is around what feeling most comes to mind when thinking about ageing.
43% feel acceptance or inevitability, 20% feel concern, 16% feel ambivalence and a further 13% feel anticipation or excitement, but this is presumably about retiring rather than ageing per se. Unfortunately, 4% feel loneliness and 3% feel fear, dread or pain.
Bringing it all together
So, overall, I’ve gained some interesting insights in what other people are thinking and feeling, which is useful to me on the ALB journey, as well as comforting to me personally that I’m not alone when I think about growing old! I hope that this has been interesting to you too and will give you some food for thought.
Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.